Pennsylvania's Wilkes County Board of Education is considering scaling back its criminal history background screening
policy with regard to school volunteers, according to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.
Wanda Hutchinson, associate school superintendent for the county, explained to the news source that under the revised policy, only volunteers charged with supervising students when there is not a teacher present would be required to submit to a background check
. Additionally, the county aims to exempt long-time volunteers from having to undergo repeated background checks
, based on the grounds of familiarity. "When we already know them, there is no need for them to have to go through it again," Steve Laws, Wilkes school superintendent, told the news source. "A lot of volunteers are annual and work with us on a regular basis." The newspaper reports that the county's current policy requires a background investigation
to be conducted on volunteers who supervise students in an instructional, athletic or extracurricular capacity, as well as those who act as chaperones on field trips. In contrast, the New Jersey Department of Education is set to tighten its background screening policy for all Board of Education members, according to The Record. State Governor Chris Christie ratified the measure in May, and guidelines are presently being drafted before the legislation takes effect.